Dental Tribune Middle East & Africa Edition | 4/2016 38 practice management The importance of brand and own reputation—from real daily life to the web ByProf.AntonioPelliccia,Italy Weusuallyassociatetheterm‘brand’ with a product that has a unique, consistent and wellrecognised char- acter (i.e. Coca-Cola, BMW). These brands conjure up images in the mindsofconsumers. Large organisations work hard to raise the power and status of their brands and guard them carefully against unlicensed use or unfair imi- tation. The American Marketing Asso- ciation (AMA) defines a brand as a ‘name, term, sign, symbol or design, or a combination of them intended to identify the goods and services of one seller or group of sellers and to differentiate them from those of othersellers’. Therefore, it makes sense to un- derstand that branding is not about getting your target market to choose you over the competition, but it is about getting your prospects to see you as the only one that provides a solution to their problem. Looking out into the world today, it is easy to see why brands are more important nowthanatanytimeinthepast100 years.Brandsarepsychologyandsci- ence brought together as a promise mark, as opposed to a trademark. Products have life cycles. Brands outlive products. Brands convey a uniform quality, credibility and ex- perience. Brands are valuable. Many companies put the value of their brandontheirbalancesheet. Why? Well you do not have to lookveryfar.Intoday’sworld,brand- ing is more important than ever. But you cannot simply build a brand like they did in the old days. You need a cultural movement strategy to achieve kinetic growth for your brand. With that, only the sky’s the limit. What sells Chanel when it produces a cosmetic? A cream or a dream of beauty? What does the Pe- rugina brand sell when it produces the ‘Bacio’? A chocolate or a feeling? What sells Ferrari when it produces the 458: car or social status? What sells Starbucks when opening its stores? A coffee or a third place be- tween home and work? The list goes on with many examples. Branding is fundamental. Branding is ba- sic. Branding is essential. Building brands builds incredible value for companiesandcorporations. If you are still not convinced, let me give you another example. The dollar is a world brand. In essence it issimplyapieceofpaper.Butbrand- inghasmadeitvaluable.Allthetools of marketing and brand building havebeenusedtocreateitsvalue.On the front you will find the owner of thebrand:theFederalReserve.There is a testimonial from the first Presi- dent of the United States, George Washington. There is a simple user’s guide: ‘This note is legal tender for debts public and private’. And if you arestillnotconvinced,theownerhas added the allimportant emotional message: ‘In God We Trust’. The dol- lar is a world brand. It confers a uni- formvalueglobally.But,asIsaid,itis really just a piece of paper. Branding hasmadeitworthsomething. I mentioned earlier that brands are more important today than in the past. There are a few reasons for this. Firstly, the world has come on- line and there are many new mar- kets and a growing middle class in places such as India, China, Brazil, Russia, South Africa, Nigeria, Indone- sia and in many more places. These consumers buy brands. They buy premium brands. The best branding today is based on a strong idea. The bestbrandshaveremarkablecreativ- ity in advertising to help them break through people’s wall of indiffer- ence to create brand heat and prod- uct lust. A case in point is the recent turnaround of Chrysler and its reli- ance on marketing and advertising. Or look at the reinvention of Levis. A final example is a campaign by my own agency, which has helped reen- ergise one of America’s great iconic brands—JimBeam. Developing a corporate brand is important because a positive brand image will give consumers, and other interested stakeholders, confi- dence about the full range of prod- ucts and activities associated with a particularcompany. Essence: A single, energising central idea; it is the heartbeat of the organi- sation. Values: What the organisation be- lievesinandstandsfor. Personality: The traits and qualities thatdistinguishyourorganisationas beingdifferent. Behaviour: The actions associated withvaluesandpersonality. Relationships: The internal and ex- ternalrulesofengagement. Value Proposition: The offer that is made to customers, the point of dif- ferenceandwhyitmatters. The sophisticated strategy is a cultural movement strategy. I be- lieve that building brands now re- quires a cultural movement strategy as opposed to simply a brand build- ing strategy. A cultural movement strategy can accelerate your brand’s rise to dominance. Once you have cultural movement, you can do anything in a fragmenting media environment, maximising the pow- er of social media and technology. The world has changed. We are now living in the age of uprisings and movements. I have written about how to build a brand in this new age in my new book Uprising. These days, building brands has become a lot less expensive and smart brands can take advantage of new tools and rocket up there globally, very fast. A common interpretation is that a brand is the promise that is made to customers. Or, the brand is not what you say it is, but what your custom- ers say it is. While these views are legitimate ways of helping to under- stand a brand, an-actively-managed approach makes a brand more tan- gible and provides it with structure. Company branding is the most effi- cient way to show potential custom- ers what your business is about. It is reflected visually via the logo and company design elements, as well as through verbiage in marketing materials,slogansandinformational copy. According to Fast Company magazine, ‘The brand is a promise of thevalueyou'llreceive’. In the face of the current eco- nomic challenges, it is worth noting that brands do better in tough times compared to unbranded products. Brands outlive product cycles. And in these challenging times, there are still great brands being built. Brand owners still recognise opportunity and their brands will thrive in the years ahead. No branding, no dif- ferentiation. No differentiation, no long-term profitability. People do not have relationships with prod- ucts, they are loyal to brands. In a movement strategy, brands have a purpose that people can get behind. Brandscaninspiremillionsofpeople to join a community. Brands can ral- ly people for or against something. Products are one dimensional in a social media enabled world, brands are Russian dolls, with many layers, tenents and beliefs that can create great followings of people who find them relevant. Brands can activate a passionate group of people to do something like changing the world. Productscannotreallydothat. Brandshavetocontain: Uniqueness: utilise your branding to set yourself apart from your com- petitors.Todothis,analysewhatyou do best and consider you target de- mographic. Use graphics and word choices that clearly reflect your business to your target audience, hence your brand. Use your branding to deliver clear messages. Target Audience: done correctly, your brand can assist you in getting a stronger foothold in your niche market. Define your unique selling position and consider methods to communicate key messages to your desired audience. Use specific im- ages or phrases to encourage the feel ofinclusivity. Letthemknowthereasonyourcom- panyexistsandhowitcanfulfiltheir needs. This can connect you to your target audience, engage them and motivatethemtobuy. Emotional Connections: accord- ing to a 2010 study conducted by the world’s largest public relations firm, Edelman, the Y Generation, also known as the Millennials, con- sider brand identification almost as important as religious preference and ethnic background when defin- ing themselves online. The power of branding has successfully melded into that of personal identification andemotionalconnection. Message Delivery: having strong branding can evoke trust from your niche market. This can translate to your newsletters, emails and ad- vertisements garnering a greater response, hence increasing sales. As people will already be vested in your brand, they will be confident that theywillreceivevaluefortimespent reading your messages or research- ingyourproduct. Consistency: focus on your long- term branding efforts to keep your businessconsistent.Thisconsistency should transcend messages, product lines and audience appeal. It should enhance your business, adding depthtoyourcompany’spresence. This should allow you to grow and keepaloyalfollowing. Many small organisations and start- upsneglectspendingnecessarytime thinking about their brand in this broad sense and the impact it has ontheirbusiness.Let’slookat10rea- sons why digging into your brand is important: Branding promotes recognition. People tend to do business with companies they are familiar with. If your branding is consistent and easy to recognise, it can help people feel more at east purchasing your prod- uctsorservices. Your brand helps set you apart from the competition. In today’s global market, it is critical to stand apart from the crowd. You are no longer competing on a local stage, your organisation now competes in the global economy. How do you standoutfromthethousandsormil- lionsofsimilarorganisationsaround theworld? Your brand tells people about your businessDNA. Your full brand experience, from the visual elements like the logo to the way that your phones are answered, tell your customer about the kind of company that you are. Are all of these points of entry telling the right story? Your brand provides motivation and direction for your staff. A clear brand strategy provides the clarity thatyourstaffneedstobesuccessful. It tells them how to act, how to win, and how to meet the organisation's goals. A strong brand generates referrals. People love to tell others about the brandstheylike.Peoplewearbrands, eat brands, listen to brands, and they are constantly telling others about the brands they love. On the flip side, you cannot tell someone about a brand you cannot remember. A strong brand is critical to generating referralsorviraltraffic. A strong brand helps customers know what to expect. A brand that is consistent and clear puts the cus- tomeratease,becausetheyknowex- actly what to expect each and every timetheyexperiencethebrand. Your brand represents you and your promise to your customer. It is important to remember that your brand represents you: you are the brand, your staff is the brand, your marketing materials are the brand. What do they say about you, and what do they say about what you are going to deliver (promise) to the customer? Your brand helps you create clar- ity and stay focused. It is very easy to wonder around from idea to idea with nothing to guide you—it does not take long to be a long way from your original goals or plans. A clear brand strategy helps you stay fo- cused on your mission and vision as anorganisation.Yourbrandcanhelp you be strategic and will guide your marketing efforts saving time and money. Yourbrandhelpsyouconnectwith your customers emotionally. A good brand connects with people at an emotional level, they feel good when they buy the brand. Purchas- ing is an emotional experience and having a strong brand helps people feelgoodatanemotionallevelwhen theyengagewiththecompany. A strong brand provides your busi- nessvalue. A strong brand will provide value to your organisation well beyond your physical assets. Think about the brands that you purchase from (Coca-Cola, Wrangler, Apple, Peru- gina, Ferrari)—are these companies really worth their equipment, their products, their warehouses, or facto- ries? No, these companies are worth much more than their physical as- sets; their brand has created a value thatfarexceedstheirphysicalvalue. Wrapping it up. The best branding is built on a strong idea, an idea that you and your staff can hold on to, cancommitto,andcandeliverupon. Your brand needs to permeate your entire organisation. When your or- ganisation is clear on the brand and can deliver on the promise of the brand, you will see tremendous fruit while building brand loyalty among yourcustomerbase. But what does a dentist actually sell? Therapies or trust? Improve the management of the dental office by increasing the management control, thePerceivedQualityandValueAdd- ed, optimising costs, acquiring new patients and increasing the strategic positioning of professional success. Particular attention was dedicated tofindingvalueinbeingabletooffer newtherapeuticsolutions,especially in this economic, social and cultural ‘timeofcrisis’. There are opportunities for growth in the dental business through increased perception of quality in presenting and managing the range of services in the sphere of performance, even aesthetic, not to mention the more traditional therapies. The professionalism of the team of front office and back office generate word of mouth and optimise all investments in commu- nication. To transfer the Perceived Quality, needs new tools of commu- nication personal and professional. Climate Analysis, Applied neurosci- ence, Web-Marketing and motiva- tionalcommunication,arejustsome ofthemethods... Editorial note: This article is the first one from the four parts series. Part II willappearinCAD/CAM2/2015.